GHIO 2013 Winners: Week 3

The Greenville Arts Council announces the next two winners of the 2013 Greenville Honors Its Own event.  For 30 years, the Greenville Arts Council has honored artists with roots in Washington County who have made a significant contribution to the world of art and have been recognized outside the Delta for their work. These awards are an important part of the Greenville Arts Council’s mission to promote and support the arts in the area.  In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Greenville Arts Council, the GHIO committee will be announcing two winners each week from January 14, 2013 until February 4, 2013.

The next two awardees are Dancer Lisa Chow and Singer, Songwriter and Producer Steve Azar.

The second of three Artist Awards is awarded to Dancer Lisa Chow. Artist awards are given to individuals with Greenville or Washington County roots who have achieved recognition outside the Delta for their work; they do not have to currently reside in Greenville.  Lisa R. Chow, originally from Greenville, Mississippi, received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Arizona State University in 1988. In 1990, she received ASU’s Outstanding Alumna award for “A Tribute to Ethnic Women in the Arts and Sciences.” Ms. Chow serves as Desert Dance Theatre’s artistic director, company manager, choreographer, performer and educator, and has toured with the company throughout Arizona, Mexico and neighboring states since 1983. Lisa has choreographed for the company’s repertory and major multi-disciplinary theme-related works as well as for children’s programs in collaboration with String Sounds (String Quartet). She is the co-founder and co-artistic director of Crossroads Performance Group along with her husband, Step Raptis, performing interdisciplinary music and dance projects throughout the state of Arizona and regionally since 1989. As an educator, Lisa has assisted and/or conducted Arts-in-Education workshops and master classes for school and community-based residencies since 1983. She has been nominated for the Arizona Governor Arts Award for Arts in Education in 2004 and 2005. As a singer, she has performed with local bands, Chant, Zingaro, Mixit (World Beat), and has collaborated as a choreographer and as a songwriter with Chieli Minucci from Special EFX (Contemporary Jazz) in New York. She was the First Vice-President on the board of the Arizona Dance Arts Alliance from 2002 through 2005, and since 2000 has coordinated the Annual Arizona Contemporary Dance Festival, currently known as the Arizona Dance Festival. After the divide of the Arizona Dance Arts Alliance in June of 2005, Lisa became one of the founders of the Arizona Dance Coalition (ADC), a web-based non-profit organization that supports dancers and provides dance resources throughout Arizona. She is currently the President of ADC since July 2007. Lisa also manages and performs with Step’s Junk Funk (SJF), founded by her husband, Step Raptis. SJF is a music and dance performance that utilizes found and repurposed objects as instruments.

The last of the three Artist Awards is awarded to Singer, Songwriter and Producer Steve Azar. Steve Azar was born and raised in Greenville, Mississippi. He was encouraged to head to Nashville and pursue his dream of writing and producing his own recordings. On his first day in Music City, Steve received multiple songwriter and publishing offers. Steve’s album “Waitin’ on Joe” came smashing on to the charts in 2002. The album, released by Universal Music Group Nashville’s Mercury Records, charted to #29 on the Top Country Albums chart. It’s lead-off single, “I Don’t Have to Be Me ‘Til Monday”, was his biggest hit at #2 nationally on the country radio charts. “I Don’t Have To Be Me Til’ Monday” is one of the Top 5 most played songs of the last decade on country radio. His next single was the title track from the record, “Waitin’ on Joe”. “Waitin’ on Joe”, became a Top 10 radio hit and reached #1 on the CMT video charts. The “Waitin’ on Joe” video featured Academy Award Winning Actor, Morgan Freeman.

Steve and his wife Gwen founded the Steve Azar St. Cecilia Foundation in 2006 to serve as a vehicle for charitable service and giving back to their community. In 2007, Azar was called personally by Bob Seger to perform 46 shows on what was rated the #1 Tour in America by Pollstar Magazine. Azar’s next album, “Indianola”, exposed his bluesy roots. One of the hit songs from the album, “You Don’t Know a Thing” featured golf professional John Daly.  In 2009, Steve released his fourth album “Slide On Over Here”. Off of the album, the single “Sunshine” won not only critical praise, but set a record for highest charting song from a true independent label on the Billboard Activator chart. “Sunshine” also got the endorsement of country star Taylor Swift when she named the song the “Song She Loved in 2010” in People Magazine. “Sunshine” was also featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things list for Christmas in 2011 and was the most requested wedding song of the year. “Sunshine” was again featured in US Weekly Magazine in June 2012 as popular celebrity wedding song.

On Memorial Day 2011, Steve released “Soldier Song” a tribute to our soldiers and their families. “Soldier Song” was chosen by Fox News Channel and used as the theme music behind their Memorial Day special on “Special Report with Bret Baier”. Steve’s album “Delta Soul: Volume I” was released in November 2011. In 2012, Steve released a track entitled “American Farmer,” which was met by rave reviews in the farming community. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the song is being donated to local chapters of the FFA. In October 2012, moviegoers across the country will heard Steve’s single “Doin’ It Right” as the title credit track for the film “Here Comes the Boom” starring Kevin James and Salma Hayek, distributed by Sony Pictures.

Greenville Honors Its Own is scheduled on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 6:30 PM. Reservations are required and can be made by calling the Greenville Arts Council at 662.332.2246. Along with reservations there are multiple sponsorship levels available. Funds raised at Greenville Honors Its Own help ensure that their programs are free or affordable and always accessible to everyone in Washington County Area.

Additional 2013 GHIO winners that have already been announced are:
Arts in Education Award: O’Bannon Elementary School
Business Award: Chillie’s Package Store
Special Achievement: Leland Frog Fest
Artist: Shawn Wilson